Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds says the NBA needs to force Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell his club after the alleged racist remarks he uttered recently.
A native of Ontario, Simmonds is one of two black players on the Flyers. The other is goalie Ray Emery.
“Make him sell the team, get him out of there,” Simmonds said. “Obviously, basketball is predominantly a black sport. When you have an owner voicing his opinion that way. The coach [Doc Rivers] is black, probably a lot of people in management.
“I’ve heard he’s had people in management quit because of his opinions. Stuff like that. It’s really unfortunate. We live in a world like today where there should be no color. You judge a person by their inside and not by the way they look, their appearance. It just sucks the way it is right now.”
Simmonds knows racism up close and personal as a Flyer.
Two years ago, during a September exhibition game against Detroit in London, Ontario, a fan threw a banana at him. In October 2012, during the lockout, fans chanted “monkey, monkey” during a game in the Czech Republic.
“I’ve had enough things happen to me and seen enough things in this world, that nothing shocks me now,” Simmonds said. “It’s unfortunate obviously. You want the owner of your team to stand behind you and have faith in you. Not to have that kind of outlook on life. You can’t really change someone’s opinion.”
Emery said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who will hold a news conference later on Tuesday (which will be streamed live on CSNPhilly.com), has a difficult decision to make about Sterling. He called Sterling’s comments, “distasteful.”
“I don’t know what they can do or whether they can make him sell the team,” Emery said. “I saw something they would get sued if they did that or something. I’m sure it’s a tough decision for [the commissioner] to make. Hoperfully, it’s a significant punishment.”
Public reaction has been outrage, especially among NBA personnel.
“Yeah, that’s a positive from it,” Emery said. “The reaction is that it is not tolerable and everyone wants some action taken against him.”
There aren’t many black players in the NHL -- fewer than 30, some of whom are of mixed raced. Simmonds was asked if racism in hockey is more subtle than the NBA.
“It’s not subtle to me,” Simmonds replied. “I’m kind of a fly in a bucket of milk here. There’s not too many guys, African-Americans, playing in the league.
“We have our share of players. We’re in a different situation here than Donald Sterling. He’s kinda the opposite of what I am.”